Guest poem submitted by Anustup Datta:
(Poem #696) Last Sonnet
Bright Star, would I were steadfast as thou art-- Not in lone splendour hung aloft the night, And watching, with eternal lids apart, Like Nature's patient sleepless Eremite, The moving waters at their priest-like task Of pure ablution round earth's human shores, Or gazing on the new soft-fallen mask Of snow upon the mountains and the moors-- No--yet still steadfast, still unchangeable, Pillow'd upon my fair love's ripening breast, To feel for ever its soft fall and swell, Awake for ever in a sweet unrest, Still, still to hear her tender-taken breath, And so live ever--or else swoon to death.
Of course, this one needs no introduction. I thought of this sonnet, which I had read and loved in school, when reading "The more loving one" by Auden. This is a beautiful love poem, and I agree with you that Keats is the most "natural" poet of the language - whatever he wrote became poetry. Here, the imagery in the octet is purely Romantic - especially "The moving waters at their priest-like task/Of pure ablution round earth's human shores"; but the sestet turns the focus inward and makes it beautifully tender and intimate - the poet looking at the sleeping form of his beloved and wishing he could capture the moment forever. Not a startlingly original emotion, nor by any means a unique conceit, but perfectly and gracefully executed. Anustup. [Links] "The More Loving One", W. H. Auden, Poem #618 Other Keats poems: "On First Looking Into Chapman's Homer", Poem #12 "La Belle Dame Sans Merci", Poem #182 "Ode to a Nightingale", Poem #316 "Why did I laugh tonight? No voice will tell", Poem #33 "To Mrs Reynolds' Cat", Poem #575